No new cases as COVID-19 fragments found in Gold Coast sewage

Routine wastewater testing has returned a positive result for viral fragments of COVID-19 in sewage at the Coombabah treatment plant.

Queensland on Saturday reported no new cases of coronavirus, with just eight cases remaining active across the whole state.

But there’s fears more cases could be lurking, with Gold Coast residents being urged to get tested if they experience any symptoms of the virus.


The sample was taken on 2 November as part of a joint Queensland Health, University of Queensland and CSIRO pilot research program to test sewage for traces of COVID-19.

While positive results have been reported at several areas across the state in recent weeks, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said that it is likely that this detection can be attributed to a traveller who had returned from overseas and tested positive while in hotel quarantine in the catchment area.

“Although we know the likely cause of this positive result, it is still an important reminder to remain vigilant and get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms,” Dr Young said.

“It is critical that we keep testing so that we can find any cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible to contain any potential spread and protect the great progress Queensland has made in recent months.

“It has been 53 days since the last COVID-19 case was in the community here in Queensland, but we must not become complacent.”

Dr Young has also reassured the community that the local drinking water is thoroughly treated through processes that are designed to remove or kill microorganisms.

“So there is no risk when drinking water, showering, watering the garden, swimming or other activities,” Dr Young said.

The common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Loss of taste and/or smell
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Loss of appetite